Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Man imprisoned and beat pal after Facebook reunion

A man was beaten repeatedly and held prisoner for days by an old friend after they met again through Facebook, the High Court has heard.

Peter Quinn from the Newry area of Co Down was also threatened with a screwdriver, verbally abused and told he had been taken hostage during a drinking binge at Mark Howie's home in Co Derry, prosecutors said.

Howie (38) allegedly launched a no-warning kick to Mr Quinn's head while dancing to heavy metal music in army-style boots.

Injuries inflicted on the victim included a broken nose and ribs, along with severe facial bruising and cuts.

Howie, of Ashthorn Manor, Main Street, Tobermore, faces charges of grievous bodily harm, false imprisonment and possession of an offensive weapon with intent. He was said to have admitted the offences and claimed he becomes possessed when he drinks.

Bail was refused because of the risk of further offences.

Mr Quinn told police he travelled to stay with his “old acquaintance” last week after they re-established contact on Facebook.

When he arrived on February 27 both men began what they planned to be a prolonged drinking session. But according to prosecution lawyer Conor Maguire, the mood changed on the second night after the pair downed a bottle-and-half of vodka.

“(The victim) said the applicant was going mad, listening to heavy metal music and dancing ,” the barrister said.

As the visitor tried to sleep on the sofa he was kicked in the face “out of nowhere” by his boot-wearing host, the court heard.

He claimed he was dragged into the kitchen, kicked again in the ribs, repeatedly slapped and called derogatory names.

During the ordeal Howie allegedly told him: “You are in my house, you are not going to hospital you pussy. You have been taken hostage.”

Mr Quinn claimed he stayed there for three days because Howie apologised and they continued drinking together.

Mr Quinn then left the house and went to a pub and requested they call an ambulance for him.

Howie later admitted the offences and apologised, the court heard.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice Weir commented: “It wasn't a very successful piece of friends being reunited.”

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